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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Section 57: Local education authorities in England: provision of transport etc for adult learners

161.This section inserts two new sections into the Education Act 1996.

162.New section 508F re-enacts section 509 of the 1996 Act (which is repealed) in respect of LEAs’ travel duties towards adult learners. It continues to impose a duty on LEAs to make any transport or other arrangements that they consider necessary, or that the Secretary of State directs, for the purpose of facilitating the attendance of learners who are aged 19 and over at certain education institutions. Any transport provided must be free of charge. The authority may pay all or part of the reasonable travel expenses of a learner for whose transport no arrangements are made. The LEA must have regard to the age of the learner, and the nature of the route, when considering what arrangements to make.

163.Subsection (5) specifies that in considering what arrangements to make for relevant young adults (i.e. those aged 19-24 with learning difficulties or disabilities), the LEA must have regard to what they are required to do under section 15ZA(1). This is the duty introduced in this Act under which LEAs will be responsible for commissioning education and training provision for young people aged 16-18 as well as those aged 19-24 with learning difficulties and disabilities. This link (similar to the link made from the sixth form transport duty by section 53) will ensure that transport arrangements are not made in isolation and that LEAs consider their commissioning duties, including particular relevant factors (for example, the location of the provision), when developing their local transport policy.

164.New section 508G places a new duty on LEAs to make available in a transport policy statement information about the travel provision they have put in place for people aged 19 to 24 (inclusive) in respect of whom a learning difficulty assessment under section 139A or 140 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 has been carried out or is required to be carried out. LEAs may publish this information in a joint statement with their sixth form transport policy statement under section 509AA of the 1996 Act, or as a separate statement if they prefer. This measure is designed to ensure that young people with learning difficulties aged 19 to 24 (inclusive) and their parents are able to access information about what transport is available, so that they are able to make informed choices between institutions.

165.When preparing the statement, the LEA are required to consult other LEAs, education institutions, affected learners and their parents. The authority must also have regard to guidance about the preparation of the statement (section 508H).

166.Under subsections (2) to (4) of section 508G, the statement must specify any transport or other arrangements, any payment of travel expenses, and any concessionary schemes which the LEA plans to make available to this group of learners in the following academic year. Subsection (5) of that section states that the statement must be published by the end of May before the start of the relevant academic year, in line with the sixth form transport policy statement duty. Subsection (6) of the section requires the LEA to have regard to the need to supply sufficient information and the need to publish the statement in good time, so that, as with the sixth form transport policy statement duty, young people and their parents are able to use this information to help them choose their institution. Section 508G(7) enables LEAs to make additional arrangements, payments or concessions which are not included in the statement during the course of the year. Section 508G(8) allows the Secretary of State to amend subsection (5) to change the deadline for publication of the statement.

167.New section 508H allows the Secretary of State to issue guidance to support LEAs to carry out their functions under 508F and 508G. LEAs must have regard to any guidance in carrying out their functions.

168.New section 508I replicates, for learners with learning difficulties aged 19-24, the transport complaints measures being introduced in respect of the sixth form duty in section 56.

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